Friday, October 21, 2011

Guilty Amnesia

Once again I'm up since 2 am and unable to get back to sleep.  Mostly, it's thinking about yesterday and now feeling guilty how it turned out.  This is normal for me.  I don't know about you, but somehow guilt is the engine that seems to drive me, and I'm not saying that it's in a forward motion at all, nor do I think it's healthy.  Why is this?  Why is it that as women we feel guilty about everything we do?  Why is it men don't seem to show an ounce of it, and can't comprehend why we even feel guilty about the things we do?  Well, I don't know, but I'm fed up of it.

You see, no one ever tells you how hard it is to have a family.  We all say how great it is, and how it changes your life, and the love of a child is immeasurable.  Yes, these are all true, but it's only as time goes on do you come to terms with the daily challenges that comes about as well.  The life you once knew is gone.  Not only are some of us ill fated to be scared and marked up and stretched out like dough on a pasta roller, but then we are also subjected to the emotional imbalance and turmoil of juggling our own needs with those of the family.  Yes, you see, these are things that our mothers fail to tell us.  Maybe it's intentionally, or maybe it's amnesia.  I'm not sure which one it is.  Somehow both our mothers only remember the good, and they seem to find  humor in moments that led to grey hair.

I'm guessing it's like childbirth, once you're done with it, you forget about it.  This is probably why only women can give birth.  Men, would figure out how outsource it.  No, I'm not upset with my husband for anything particular right now, just noticing the differences in attitude.

I'm not sure how your house runs, but it seems like between a 3 year old and a 8 month old, it's a daily routine of crying and shouting, and that includes me in this mix.  I try to find ways to approach this from my wonderful Montessori training, redirecting, asking why, being firm but loving, giving limited choices, allowing her the time and space to calm down, taking time for myself to calm down.  It goes on, but you see, this doesn't last past 10 am sometimes (if not in school).  Getting through the day requires high doses of caffeine, sugar, and a 30 minute "escape" into the media world while they are napping (if that happens).

So, why is this so difficult.  I have realized that 80% of it is lifestyle choices.  Yes, I will admit to this.  It's from the choice to do cloth diapers, to drying them on the line, from not having a TV to put them in front of so I can shower or cook, from 90% home cooked meals to home made baby food, from allowing the children to feed themselves followed by the giant mess that's left, from working with them to clean up and help with household chores, from not having a play pen or a bouncy chair or a crib, from not using a pacifier, and from choosing to breastfeed for 16-18 months which leaves you with interrupted sleep.  Yes, I could easily help myself by changing a few things here and there, and we have embraced disposables when traveling with the second child.  This is not a list that I ever saw myself doing.  I didn't think I'd be so granola about having kids, but somewhere along the lines, I made these choices, and now I'm having to deal with it.  Yet, I can't seem to give them up either.  I think that's where the guilt comes in.  The guilt of not doing these things seem to outweigh giving them up.  Why is that? I attest it to being an Asian catholic woman.  Yeah, that's it, a full fledged dose of all kinds of guilt with a side of extra guilt in case you forget.

Well, I suppose like any 12 step program acceptance is the first to the road of healing.  So, I accept my bullshit list of choices I have made.  I accept they bring me more grief than necessary.  I do not judge anyone for doing what they do to get through the day or life.  I wish I had time to get to the gym, or wax my legs, or shower more often.  I wish I knew how to be happy with the choices I have made and not feel as they are a burden that has been imposed on me.

There is one rule by which I stand.  I do not wish to be a supermom, I do not wish to do all the chores myself, I'm totally fine with letting my husband have his way in cleaning or whatever it is.  I have no desire to do it all myself, oh no!  I'm not one of those woman who gets to do my hair and make up and show up on time looking like a million bucks after reorganizing the entire house and making a home made meal dressed like a diva.  No way.  I'm not a gym mom.  I'm not a soccer mom.  I'm not a lot of things.

My new year's resolution for the last two years has been "do less".  Yes, that's right, I want to do less, and live more.  You may think that's a contradiction, but not for me.  I never wanted to be a crafty person, in fact the thought of it still drives me nuts.  However, I'm frugal and hate the idea of wasting.  In the above mentioned list, I have taken on crafty things as a way to escape as well.  I've found this to be relaxing and a way in which I can remain in my house, but escape my mind.  So, yes, I supposed I'm doing more than I have before, but it's not for the reasons of doing, but being instead.  

I'm not sure how to escape the guilt, and I'm not sure I ever will, but I once read an article that said we should treat ourselves well once in a while.  Yes, and for this I have allowed myself a once in a while massage to relax.  I'm still cashing in on backlogged gifts so I'm very thankful for them.  It is an hour escape every 3-6 months, but oh how glorious it is.  I like the airplane metaphor for mothering "put on your oxygen mask before helping your child".  This is undoubtedly true.  What good are we to these children if we don't take care of ourselves, and by this I mean our emotional and mental health.  Being a basket case or a bundle of tightly wound up raging emotions is not good for any of us, and the worst is if my children remember me this way as part of their childhood.

Well what's a girl to do?  Grow up.  Stop being a girl and become a mother.

A few pictures of what keeps us together and crazy!

 Roasting beef bones to make home-made beef broth.  A 2 day process.
 A children's apron as a gift to her school fro her birthday.
 Playing in the mud which helps their senses and wonder.
 Prepping seed trays for fall gardening.
Making a roast chicken in the crock pot and then making broth with cubes of it for baby.
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